The Patiala House Court on Thursday granted bail to Congress leader Jairam Ramesh in a defamation suit filed against him by Vivek Doval, the son of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal granted Ramesh bail on a personal bond and surety of Rs 20,000 each, Bar and Bench reported.
The court also framed charges against the three accused in the case, after they pleaded not guilty to charges of defamation.
Vivek Doval had filed the criminal complaint after an article in The Caravan claimed he ran a hedge fund in the Cayman Islands, which is a tax haven. Editor-in-Chief of The Caravan Paresh Nath, reporter Kaushal Shroff and Congress MP Jairam Ramesh were named in the complaint filed at the Patiala House Courts complex.
Trade documents accessed by the magazine showed that the fund was registered in the Cayman Islands just 13 days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announced the demonetisation of high-denomination currency notes on November 8, 2016. After the publication of the article, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh sought an investigation by the Reserve Bank of India into the hedge fund. The court had granted bail to Nath and Shroff on April 25.
“We are public personalities,” Ramesh said in his plea. “ It is out duty to raise issues on which many questions arise. The press conference was not personal, it was purely professional. No intent to defame but intent to raise questions which public is entitled to.”
The court said the matter will be heard next on May 27 for recording of evidence.